Qutub Minar Delhi
the first Muslim ruler of Delhi, commenced the construction of
the Qutab Minar in 1200 AD, but could only finish the basement.
His successor, Iltutmush, added three more storeys, and in 1368,
Firoz Shah Tughlak constructed the fifth and the last storey. The
development of architectural styles from Aibak to Tughlak are
quite evident in the minar. The relief work and even the
materials used for construction differ.
Some believe it was erected as a tower of victory to signify the
beginning of the Muslim rule in India. Others say it served as a
minaret to the muezzins to call the faithful to prayer. No one
can, however, dispute that the tower is not only one of the
finest monuments in India, but also in the world.
The 238 feet Qutab Minar is 47 feet at the base and tapers to
nine feet at the apex. The tower is ornamented by bands of
inscriptions and by four projecting balconies supported by
elaborately decorated brackets.
Even in ruin, the Quwwat Ui Islam (Light of Islam) Mosque in the
Qutab complex is one of the most magnificent in the world. Its
construction was started by Qutab-ud-din Aibak in 1193 and the
mosque was completed in 1197. additions were made to the building
by Iltutmush in 1230 and Alla-ud-din Khilji in 1315.
The main mosque comprises of an inner and outer courtyard, of
which the inner is surrouded by an exquisite collonade, the
pillars of which are made of richly decorated shafts. Most of
these shafts are from the 27 Hindu temples which were plundered
to construct the mosque. It is, therefore, not surprising that
the Muslim mosque has typical Hindu ornamentation.
Close to the mosque is one of Delhi's most curious antiques, the
Iron Pillar. Dating back to the 4th century AD, the pillar bears
an inscription which stated that it was erected as a flagstaff in
honour of the Hindu god, Vishnu, and in the memory of the Gupta
king Chandragupta II (375-413). How the pillar moved to its
present location remains a mystery. The pillar also highlights
ancient India's achievements in metallurgy. The pillar is made of
98 per cent wrought iron and has stood. 1,600 years without
rusting or decomposing.